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Emergency braking

Review the section, “Braking,” in chapter 3 of this handbook. Practice emergency stops in a safe environment, such as a vacant parking lot, to get a feel for it. The front brake supplies about three- quarters of your braking power, so use both brakes to stop quickly.

If your motorcycle is equipped with a clutch and gears, pull in the clutch and apply both brakes quickly and smoothly without locking the wheels. If either wheel locks, release the brake momentarily to get the wheel rolling, then re-apply the brakes but not to the point of locking. This is called threshold braking.

If your motorcycle or moped has an anti-lock braking system, practise emergency braking to understand how your vehicle will react. It is a good idea to practise doing this under controlled conditions with a qualified motorcycle instructor.

Anti-lock braking systems, which are also called ABS, are designed to sense the speed of the wheels on a vehicle. An abnormal drop in wheel speed, which indicates potential wheel lock, causes the brake force to be reduced to that wheel. This is how ABS prevents tire skid and the accompanying loss of steering control. This improves vehicle safety during heavy brake use or when braking with poor traction.

Although anti-lock braking systems help to prevent wheel lock, you should not expect the stopping distance for your motorcycle to be shortened. Under normal driving conditions on clean dry roads, you will notice no difference between braking with anti-lock brakes and braking without them.

If you are unfamiliar with ABS, the vibration that happens when you use them to brake hard in an emergency may surprise you. Make sure you know what to expect so you can react quickly and effectively in an emergency.